If You’re British, Sign The Petition! Let MPs know that there is widespread opposition to unilateral recognition for a Palestinian state that isn’t the result of direct negotiations
This message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign refers, of course, to the House of Commons vote this coming Monday on a motion calling on the British government unilaterally recognise a state of Palestine.
It’s widely thought that the motion ( “This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel”) will pass since Labour leader “Red Ed” Miliband, a prisoner of the trades unions that form the basis of the Labour Party and which have been gunning for Israel for some considerable time, instructed his MPs to vote in favour of the motion, and since it also has the support of a number of Tories (who’ve been given a free vote on the issue), not least the pro-Arab Sir Nicholas (“Two Dinners”) Soames (known for his girth as well for alleged sexism towards female MPs), Sir Winston Churchill’s this-apple-did-fall-far-from-the-tree grandson, as well as (no surprises here) most of the Liberal Democrats, including, doubtless, their former leader Sir Menzies (“Ming”) Campbell, shown in Richard Millett’s video here blaming Israel for the rise if ISIS!
Needless to say, CAABU, Mustafa Barghouti, and the rest of the Israel-loathing gang in the UK and in the Middle East are cock-a-hoop over this development.
Also recommending it is chief political commentator Peter Oborne in the London Daily Telegraph. Oborne, be it remembered,was responsible for the odious Dispatches programme “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby”.
To quote, inter alia, a British newspaper (which briefly refers to the Palestinian reaction):
‘While a vote in favour of Palestinian recognition would only be symbolic and not bind the Government it would nonetheless have profound international implications.
Last week Sweden became the first major EU country to announce that it intended officially to recognise the Palestinian state much to the fury of the Israeli Government, which called in the Swedish ambassador for a public reprimand….
The Israelis have always maintained that recognition should only follow a negotiated agreement between both sides, and it is understood that a senior member of the Israeli cabinet has directly lobbied senior Labour politicians not to back the motion.
Labour’s support for the motion also concerns Israel because it fears it could be a precursor to a future Labour Government following Sweden’s example and recognising Palestine.
The current UK position set out by the former Foreign Secretary William Hague is that Britain “reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace”.
But in a letter to The Independent a group of retired diplomats, including two former Consul-Generals to Jerusalem, have urged MPs to back the motion….
However several members of the Labour Shadow Cabinet are expected to defy the party whip and also abstain from the vote after heated behind the scenes arguments about Labour’s position.
One described the party’s stance as “mad” and predicted it would cause deep divisions between pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian factions within Labour. Two Shadow Cabinet Ministers are officers of Labour Friends of Israel.
“We should not be taking a position on this and whipping the vote,” they said. “I for one will be staying away.”….
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander wrote on a blog post the he believed the motion to be compatible with Labour’s current official policy on Palestinian recognition.
“Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two state solution, is why we will be voting to support the principle of Palestinian statehood when the House of Commons debates the issue on Monday,” he wrote.
“Labour believes that, amidst the undoubted despair and the disappointment, the international community must take concrete steps to strengthen moderate Palestinian opinion, encourage the Palestinians to take the path of politics, reject the path of violence, and rekindle hopes that there is a credible route to a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel achieved by negotiations.”
Alan Duncan, who also supports the motion from the Conservative side, said: “There is no peace process at the moment and there is no reason to seek Israeli permission for Palestinian recognition. It is their right and we should feel a moral duty to support it.”
But the Conservative MP Guto Bebb, who is opposing the motion and has laid down an amendment stating that recognition should only come “on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority said that motion as stood “contradicted common sense”.
“The motion is completely contrary to UK Government policy,” he said. “How can you recognise a state when the borders of that state have not been agreed?
“This is profoundly unhelpful to the peace process.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground.”….’
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, together with the Jewish Leadership Council, have written the following letter to prime minister David Cameron and other MPs:
“The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, which dominated the news here and abroad, has once again put Israel and the Palestinians high on the political agenda. It is understandable that all reasonable people, confronted with the suffering that war inevitably causes on both sides, would do everything they can to support a solution that will end the conflict once and for all.
We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, fully appreciate and share those feelings. But it is precisely because we are committed to a peaceful, stable and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that we are expressing grave concerns about the upcoming Parliamentary vote on the recognition of a Palestinian state.
The only credible route to peace is through direct negotiation between the parties themselves, based on the principle of recognising two states for two peoples. To grant Palestinians statehood at this premature juncture sends a harmful message that negotiations can be circumvented and dialogue ignored, rewarding intransigence over compromise.
There are of course real, pragmatic steps that our government could be taking to avert another outbreak of violence, not least of all working with the international community to help build a prosperous and demilitarized Gaza, where the priority is the welfare of civilians rather than the bolstering of terrorists.
It is with these concerns in mind that we strongly urge our elected representatives to act responsibly and oppose this damaging motion as it stands, and instead support the proposed amendment so that it would read “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”
Our organisations represent thousands of constituents, holding a wide range of views on this issue, but all of us are committed to a safe and secure Israel living in peace with her neighbours – peace that can only come through negotiations between the two peoples themselves.”